German President dismisses Greek demands for Nazi-era crimes compensation

German President dismisses Greek demands for Nazi-era crimes compensation


Review Hari Stefanatos

The German President, Joachim Gauck, is on a symbolic visit to Greece, where he was hosted by the President of the Greek Republic, Karolos Papoulias.

The Greek President put forward the issue of the Greek war reparation claims as well as the issue of the occupation loan during the Nazi era, both during their private meeting and during the broader discussions between the two country’s delegations.

“…Greece has never ceded its claims and the solution to the issue must be found with the earliest possible start of the negotiations”, Papoulias stated.

On his part, Gauck acknowledged Germany’s “moral debt” for the dozens of massacres committed by Nazi soldiers in anti-guerrilla reprisals during the war, but dismissed the Greek claims and instead offered to set up a new fund that serve as a reminder of the past to the Germans, without however providing regarding the fund’s purpose and size.

“…I cannot adopt a different position from Germany’s legal position. What I can do is when we go to Ioannina, to find the words to recognise Germany’s guilt for the war victims in the area. Guilt does not only have a material, but a moral dimension as well. In Germany there is a wrong development. Many things have been erased from memory. There is moral guilt. I will show the way. The Nazi horrors must stay in our memory”, the German President said.

Germany denies owing anything to Greece for World War Two after the 115 million deutsche marks it paid in 1960, but Athens claims that those money were considered only as the initial payment with the rest to be given after Germany’s reunification.

(Source AMNA, Reuters)